StarCraft II Esports: The Triumphant Return of ByuN

Day 2 of BlizzCon competition opened with a highly anticipated Zerg mirror match between the tournament’s greatest underdog, Elazer, and the favorite to win it all, Dark. In the first game, Dark assaulted Elazer quickly. The Polish player saw it coming, but it was too late. Dark showed great control and dealt far too much damage. In the second game, Elazer took his revenge by opening just as aggressively. Unfortunately, Dark’s skill and gameplay were too finely honed, and he held long enough to strike back and win again. In the final game, both players abandoned their overly aggressive strategies and settled in for a much longer game. Unfortunately, this kind of game is where Dark shines, and he pressed Elazer hard. There was a glimmer of hope where Elazer held a brief advantage and a possibility to win the game, but the moment passed and Dark went on to take the series 3-0.

In the second series, we saw the last remaining Terran, ByuN, face the last remaining Protoss, Stats. After losing badly to ShoWTimE’s Protoss play in the group stages, ByuN practiced nonstop on all maps for all possible Protoss strategies. When this set began, it was evident how well ByuN had prepared. In the first two games, ByuN put Stats’s bases under siege and never let up. While his opponent dealt with the constant assault, ByuN built more bases, created more units, and researched new technologies without any pressure. Stats fought back in the third game by trapping ByuN and refusing to let him expand while he built five bases and dominated the match. Seeing the need for a change in strategy, ByuN opened the fourth game by creating multiple structures close to Stats’s main base. Stats scouted the wrong side of the map and didn’t see ByuN’s risky play, which allowed ByuN to quickly make units and attack from a short distance to close out the series 3-1.

Artosis's Game of the Day: Caster Artosis thinks that game 5 of the finals between ByuN and Dark "might be the best game ever played." This back-and-forth game between an aggressive Terran and a macroing Zerg is a must-watch!

The grand finals certainly lived up to all the excitement surrounding the two best players in the world. Dark and ByuN showed why they are the best Zerg and best Terran in the world, respectively. The first game showed a style that ByuN has used a lot throughout the finals. He trapped Dark with constant aggression and attacks while he expanded and grew his army to win the first game. In the following game, Dark got his revenge. He took control of the map and expanded to five bases while forcing ByuN to work off three bases. With a noticeable economic advantage and complete control of the map, Dark tied up the series.

Game 3 began with ByuN using some potent mind games. He pressed Dark’s base heavily at the beginning, and taunted him into a full-on retaliation. As Dark gathered to attack with everything he had, ByuN’s forces poked at the enemy units and delayed them in the middle of the map. By the time the attack finally arrived at ByuN’s front door, it was too late. ByuN overwhelmed the attacking force and took the game. The fourth game saw ByuN return to what has worked for him throughout the finals. He harassed Dark’s most valuable base while expanding and growing his own forces to take the game handily, extending his lead to 3-1.

The fifth game in the series was the longest, as each player brought their most practiced and seasoned strategies to the table. Unfortunately for ByuN, Dark has studied his standard style relentlessly, so he was more than prepared. Despite displaying why he’s known as having the best raw gameplay in the world, ByuN could not handle Dark’s army and harassment. The game was uncertain for most of the time, but in the end ByuN ran out of steam and lost the game.

In what ended up being final match, ByuN brought his absolute A game. He used his main army to contain Dark, never allowing him to control the map or expand very far. Meanwhile, he used smaller forces to poke in and disrupt the Zerg’s mining operations, constantly keeping his opponent at a disadvantage. With ByuN’s perfect gameplay on top of that, Dark was unable to make any headway, and ByuN claimed the title with a 4-2 victory.

Congratulations to ByuN on returning to StarCraft II after such a long break and winning the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon. We were treated to some absolutely incredible games in this year’s championship tournament, and it’s exciting to think what awaits in the 2017 series.